Saturday, May 31, 2008

Branching Out


I love everything about cakes but I want to expand my knowledge and learn other tricks of the trade too. I thought I would try a chocolate molding class. We learned to temper the chocolate and make it so it is the consistancy of playdoh! From there you can shape it however you like. If you melt down white chocolate you can also colour it! This makes a great alternative for covering a cake rather than using fondant. Not everyone loves the taste of fondant. Here is my finished product. A chocolate basket with chocolate flowers, leaves and vines. Even the handle and ribbon are chocolate! I used Oreo crumbs for the "dirt" and Jube Jube rocks for decoration!

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Final Cake Decorating Class



This was the last cake for this particular class. It was really fun to make. The white on white looks so classic and elegant to me. It's a 2-tier vanilla wedding cake with Bavarian cream in between layers. I made royal icing petunias to cascade down one side of the cake. White royal icing detailing on top of white fondant and peach drop flowers to break it up a bit. I sent it to my mom's work for the staff to eat but nobody wanted to cut into it! So it just sat there!

Cake With A Twist


I had seen diaper cakes in magazines and on the internet before. They didn't look too intimidating so I thought I would try. This is one I made for my sister-in-law for her shower. I used 131 disposable diapers and tied them all together with ribbon and silk flowers. Each tier sat on pillars to give it some height and I topped it off with a TY beanie baby. It was a big hit at the party!

Expanding my Horizons


I have always had an interest in cookie art. I love dressing up sugar cookies rather than just blobbing some icing on top. I offered to make some cookies as baby shower favors for my friend who was expecting. They turned out pretty well. I think these are a great idea for bridal showers and wedding favors. There are some really good ideas out there.

Cakes On Location


For My mother-in-law's 50th birthday we all went to the sunshine coast and stayed in a 25,000 sq. ft. mansion that James's brother and his fiancee caretake! It was so much fun! I had volunteered to make the cake for this special occasion. I brought a couple of my kitchen tools with me, the essentials, and decided to wing it. Which is scary when you have to use someone else's oven! My oven, by no means, is great but I know it inside and out and I'm comfortable with it! I took full advantage of the kitchen gadgets. The lady of the house had a brand new Kitchenaid mixer that had never even been used before (until I showed up anyway!). I like my space in the kitchen, even if there is an abundance of space like that house had! So everyone decided to go for a swim in the pool when it was time for me to start decorating. They were only gone for about 45 minutes and when they all came back in, I was finishing up, attaching flowers to the basket weave cake. Everyone was so surprised how fast it went from bare cake to fully decorated. I love the basket weave, everyone is always so impressed with it, and it's easier than it looks to achieve!

Holly's Request



For my friend's birthday she had requested only a couple things, the rest was up to me. She wanted to incorporate pink and black and zebra print on the cake. I decided to try my hand at a 2-tier cake even though we hadn't quite covered it in class yet! (not like me to try and get ahead!) I made a pound cake with bavarian cream in the middle for the bottom tier and used buttercream to create the zebra effect. The top tier was a chocolate cake with pink buttercream and black royal icing for the cornelli lace. I also made black royal icing roses with pink shimmering powder for the edges to top off the cake. She LOVED her cake, it was so "her."

An "Off" Night


Okay, so everyone has "off" days. But it is still a shot to my pride. I wasn't the proudest of my work on this particular night of class but making the bow and the carnations out of fondant was kind of neat so I decided to show it anyway. Not my favourite cake though. The picture is upside down so you can see the flowers.

My First Setback


I had received pretty good feedback about the cakes I had done thus far. So I was excited when my sister-in-law asked me if I would make the cake for her husband's 29th birthday party. I worked the day before the party and we have a little one at home so it was about 10:00pm when I STARTED the cake! I had sent my husband out on a hunt for more eggs because the grocery stores were all closed for the night and I didn't have enough. I had planned to make a big rectangle cake with chocolate icing. Fatigue and just plain stupidity set in when I tried to put one layer of cake on top of the other and I dropped the whole thing on the floor. The worst part about it was, James and Chloe had gone to bed so I couldn't blame it on distractions. It was all me! I chucked that cake so hard into the sink it wasn't funny. By this time it was 1:00am and I was dog-tired. I had a bit of left over batter and a choice to make. Do I stay up all night and try again? Or do I make do with what I have? I opted out of starting over. I knew Bill (the birthday boy) would find the funny side of it. I made him a significantly smaller, but still delicious, cake that was just for him! On the way to the party I stopped in at Thrifty's and bought a bigger cake for everyone else! I was right though, he did find my misfortune hilarious!

The Cake That Convinced Me



This was the first time we did the basket weave. If I do say so myself, I was quite impressed with what I was able to do, first try. All the flowers and even the little blue birds are hand made out of royal icing. There are roses, pansies, appleblossoms, violets, daisies and primroses. The chocolate is Italian buttercream with Bernard Callebaut chocolate melted into it. This cake convinced me what I wanted to pursue my hobby a little further than "just for fun."

My Second Class





Now we were getting into the good stuff! We experimented with royal icing drop flowers, and we even made these cute little clowns out of royal icing too! Personally, clowns freak me out. But these ones were arorable and very non-threatening! Great for kids cakes!

Before School


This is a cake I made before I took any classes. Boxing gloves for my hubby's birthday! I tied together licorice rope to make the laces of the gloves.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Impatient


I couldn't wait until the next class. I had to make another cake, especially if I was going to be the BEST at it! A Lemon cake with Buttercream icing. Zebra print on top and polka-dots on the side. Just for fun!

My First Attempt


I had made birthday cakes before, for family and friends, nothing out of the ordinary though. And I'm not going to lie either, I used a no-fail method that my trusty friend, Betty Crocker, taught me! I had never used a piping bag in my life when I stepped into my first class. Everyone else there seemed to already have prior experience of some sort. I was in way over my head. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I wasn't the best at it, oh well. At least it was a few nights out of the house for some social interaction. But we all know that I HAD to be the BEST at it! That's just me! Surprisingly, it went well. I learned lots and I felt confident that I could stick to it and improve my skills. Here is the first cake I did on my first day of class. Just a simple vanilla cake with Italian Buttercream on top and in between layers. The rainbow was done with a star piping tip, and my daughter's name piped underneath.

The Beginning: My Aha! Moment

One night a few months ago, I found myself restless and awake at 2:00am. I was tossing and turning and in doing so, annoying my husband who was sleeping just fine. I decided to save him the grief and get up. There's nothing else to do at that time of the morning but go on the internet. I wasn't searching for anything in particular, just seeing what weird and wonderful things "Google" had to offer. Somehow I stumbled upon these cakes. The most amazing cakes I have ever seen in my life! They were called Topsy-Turvy cakes and I wanted to make them! If you know a bit about me, you know that I am constantly finding new objects of interest to lose myself in. I spent a little over 3 hours researching different kinds of cakes, frostings, techniques etc. I made a folder and filled it with pictures of other people's works of art that I was determined to master. I finally satisfied my mind enough to let myself go back to bed. Only, then I was too excited about all these ideas I had running though my head, to sleep! That night I had my Aha! moment. I just knew I had to make cakes!